In today's CAT Topper Series, we bring to you Prakriti Mishra's story, who has made it to IIM Kozhikode's Class of 2023. She always had a dream of joining one of the old IIMs (BLACKI). Her journey had started in June 2020, while she was working as a consultant at one of the 'Big 4' and balancing her work and CAT preparation wasn't an easy task for her. Here, she talks about how she cracked CAT by following the right strategy. Read on!
I cannot stress enough on the importance of giving mock tests and analyzing them. One thing I learnt from my CAT preparation is – Do not hesitate to start giving mocks early. It’s a common feeling among the aspirants to first complete their preparation fully and then plan their mock tests. I would say even if you aren’t completely prepared with all the topics, do start with practicing one mock every week. I myself have come from a phase where initially there was a lot of hesitation within me for the same. However, the mocks help you familiarize with the pattern and understand your areas of strength and weakness. This helps you adopt a more focused approach to your preparation. Also, please do not get demotivated by your score/percentile in initial mocks. Infact, just take these initial few mocks as a practice paper.
Next part which is even more important than the mock test itself is the analysis. Ideally, it used to take me atleast 2-3 hours to analyze each mock.
Once you are more familiar with the pattern and confident in your preparation, it might as well help in enrolling to a second test series as it gives you the exposure to a wide variety of questions, concepts and difficulty level so that you are prepared for anything that comes your way on the D-Day. Again, just practicing your mocks without proper analysis won’t really bring out expected results.
SECTION-WISE PREPARATION STRATEGY
For someone who is starting from scratch, a regular reading habit helps immensely in this particular section. For this, I suggest reading the newspaper daily (it will also help you in your interviews) and five articles daily from websites such as – ‘Aeon essays’ and international newsletters such as ‘The Guardian’. Alternately, practising 4-5 reading comprehension passages daily (as a part of sectional tests) would also suffice.
During my preparation I read many articles suggesting the aspirants to reach a certain number of words per minute as a proper speed for reading comprehensions. However, that way many aspirants tend to lose the flow of understanding the author’s message. This is one of the prime-most reasons why many candidates lose accuracy in this section. Reading at a pace at which you are able to thoroughly comprehend the message of the author helps immensely (otherwise one may end up collecting negative marks).
In case one needs further guidance in this section, VARC1000 by Career Launcher is a good course to look at.
DILR and QA:
Solving LR based DI sets helps immensely in the DILR section. Practice enough to know which sets to choose and which ones to leave in the examination. DILR is more about accuracy than attempts!
For QA, going through the concepts and solving sectional test helps. I would recommend to note down the questions which teach you important concepts and revisit them in the future in order to get hold of the underlying concept properly.
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- Practice enough to know which questions you may pick and which ones you may leave in the actual paper.
- Try to take up the doubts of your peers and help them solve it. It not only clears your concepts but can make you learn a new one as well!
- Additionally, reading about few frequently discussed concepts such as nihilism, liberalism, British colonialism, metaphysics, space venture, etc. might help in the VARC section to comprehend better.
- Lastly, do not get demotivated by your mock percentiles.
All the best!